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D&D 5E How To Do A Human Shield Grapple

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
So, it’s a classic move. You disarm or disorient an enemy with a strike, and then grapple them and spin around, putting their body in the way of an attack meant for you.

Feels like something a Battlemaster Fighter or a Monk should be able to do, but what are the best mechanics for it?

My first thought is as a reaction, grapple a creature within 5ft of you. If you succeed, you move them to a position also within 5ft of you, and the attack is made against them? Or the attack is made with disadvantage and if it misses it hits the grappled creature?

Thoughts?
 

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Waterbizkit

Explorer
So, it’s a classic move. You disarm or disorient an enemy with a strike, and then grapple them and spin around, putting their body in the way of an attack meant for you.

Feels like something a Battlemaster Fighter or a Monk should be able to do, but what are the best mechanics for it?

My first thought is as a reaction, grapple a creature within 5ft of you. If you succeed, you move them to a position also within 5ft of you, and the attack is made against them? Or the attack is made with disadvantage and if it misses it hits the grappled creature?

Thoughts?
Sounds like a good idea. I think it works well as a reaction. The only alternative idea I'd put forward is that rather than redirecting the attack or imposing disadvantage, go with what's right in the name: human shield.

Have it grant a +2 to AC against the attack or, half cover which is still just a +2 to AC but also gives a +2 to dex saves. Then you could allow it as a reaction against an attack or an ability/spell that requires a dexterity save. Fireball from the enemy wizard? Hide behind his buddy and let that poor sap take the brunt of it.

Of course there's still the question as to whether the grappled opponent takes any damage as a result, but I feel like this is a simple matter of balance. Maybe they take the hit/make their dexterity save at disadvantage? Maybe they take partial damage?

If that's too much, just leave it out. If it seems in line with what you're looking for, go with it. Not like it's hard to scale it back after the fact.
 

Xeviat

Community Supporter
Supporter
If your target is grappling with someone, it seems like it should be harder to hit them and possible to hit the other person. Would a simple percent chance for the attack to target the other person, determined by positioning, be the easiest way to do it? Or is the cover system here to ... cover ... this?
 



el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I have done this ad hoc with just an opposed roll to position the person you've grappled on your action and then those that go to attack you must attack at disadvantage or have a 50% chance to hit the shield. But it has only come up like twice so far.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Without going deep into house rules, you might be able to do this:

1) Grapple with your attack.
2) Next turn ready an action that if a person hits you, you use the "move a grappled target" part of your move to move them in front of the attack.

The second one does require DM interpretation, and since it takes a readied action its not nearly as strong as I think what your looking for, but its another option.
 

Quartz

Adventurer
This seems to me to be the perfect opportunity for a Bonus Action manoeuvre. After a successful Grapple you may use a Bonus Action to make an opposed Strength check to position the creature you have grappled.
 

ardoughter

Adventurer
Supporter
I think it would be something like: as a reaction, use a creature you are grappling. You gain advantage on your AC. If the attack would have hit you without the bonus, it hits the creature you are grappling instead.
I like this one, it is simple, no muss, and does not require set up or complicated adjudication.
 

I think it would be something like: as a reaction, use a creature you are grappling. You gain advantage on your AC. If the attack would have hit you without the bonus, it hits the creature you are grappling instead.
Yeah, this is solid. Keeps it simple and appropriately situational. Also prevents abuse of the mechanic by adding just a slight chance of the “grapplee” being hit therefore not overshadowing abilities like the Cloud Rune of the Rune Knight Fighter or spells like Enemies Abound.
 

Xeviat

Community Supporter
Supporter
The grappled person adds +4 to AC. If an attack misses the grappler by 4 or less, it hits the grappled person.
But what if the person you're using as a shield has higher AC than you? Then the attack can never hurt them because only attacks that miss you can target them, and those would miss them.

The random chance to target avoids this issue.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
lots of great ideas.

I like the AC bonus/disadvantage to the triggering attack/cover, and if the attack misses because of the defense boost, it hits the grapplee.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
But what if the person you're using as a shield has higher AC than you? Then the attack can never hurt them because only attacks that miss you can target them, and those would miss them.

The random chance to target avoids this issue.
Back when we used similar rules for firing into melee, the attacker would roll a second time to see if they hit the secondary target.

That way we took into account the new target's AC.
 




CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
The way I'd rule it:

If you are grappled with a creature and are hit by an attack, you can use your reaction to cause the attack to target the grappled creature instead. The grappled creature is allowed an opposed Strength (Athletics) check to prevent this.
 

Xeviat

Community Supporter
Supporter
Back when we used similar rules for firing into melee, the attacker would roll a second time to see if they hit the secondary target.

That way we took into account the new target's AC.

That works for me.

I wish there was a nice way to use the advantage/disadvantage 2d20 mechanic, but without specifying which die was for which (which is easy to do on Roll20 or with die colors), it's functionally the same thing.
 

Xeviat

Community Supporter
Supporter
The way I'd rule it:

If you are grappled with a creature and are hit by an attack, you can use your reaction to cause the attack to target the grappled creature instead. The grappled creature is allowed an opposed Strength (Athletics) check to prevent this.

I don't want it to generally cost a reaction or any other action. Hasn't anyone thrown something at one sibling and hit the other sibling by mistake?

No? Just me?
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I don't want it to generally cost a reaction or any other action. Hasn't anyone thrown something at one sibling and hit the other sibling by mistake?

No? Just me?
Sure, that's fine too. I'd probably just have that happen automatically if the attack roll is a natural-1, but that's not the only way to do it.
 

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